Please welcome Councillor Colin McGerty!

at The Guildhall, 4th May 2018

The Queen Edith’s Lib Dem Focus Team has a new councillor, Cllr Colin McGerty. In yesterday’s City Council elections, Colin polled 1,259 votes to become our new city councillor for the next four years.

Here is the result:

Colin McGerty, Liberal Democrat: 1259 votes (44.2%)

Dan Greef, Labour: 827 votes (29.0%)

Manas Deb, Conservative: 543 votes (19.1%)

Joel Chalfen, Green: (27.7%)

 

Thank you to everyone who supported Colin and the Liberal Democrats, to our opponents for an honest and high-quality contest, and to the Queen Edith’s Community Forum for another fine hustings event.

QE election results

Hills Road cycle lanes: Frequently Asked Questions

Hills Road cycle lanesCambridgeshire County Council’s new cycle lanes on Hills Road have generated a record number of questions and concerns. Here are some of the most common ones:

Q: Why is Cambridgeshire County Council doing this?

A: The County wishes to enhance cycleways in order to meet the needs of the rapidly growing population, which will result in more traffic. The County would like to keep the extra motorised traffic to a minimum and encourage other modes of transport. Similar schemes have substantially increased cycling in other areas, particularly amongst children.

Q: How is it being funded?

A: Through central government’s Cycle City Ambition Fund.

Q: Who approved it?

A: County Council Highways officers identified Hills and Huntingdon Roads as main routes into Cambridge that would benefit from enhancement. The scheme was first presented to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee in May 2014. Councillors deferred it as they were unhappy with elements of the scheme including the floating bus stops, and changes were made. It was passed in July 2014 at the second time of asking, with an undertaking to conduct traffic surveys before and after implementation, an amendment I requested, in order to assess the level of rat-running as a result of the narrower road carriageway. One survey was done last year and another will be done after completion.

Q: Will any trees be felled?
A: The County Council has stated categorically that no trees will be felled. Some pruning of vegetation that encroaches onto the public highway may be necessary.

Q: Will new rubbish bins be provided at bus stops?
A: Providing litter bins is a City Council responsibility. The County Project Team is discussing with City Council about replacement of old bins with new ones and other locations where a new bin may be desirable.

IMAG1839Q: How will works across junction mouths be organised?
A: Junctions are being closed off at weekends to allow works to be safely and quickly undertaken. Letterdrops to residents and advanced warning notices inform those affected at least one week in advance.

Q: How will work on junction mouths of cul de sacs be organised?
A: Junction works to be constructed one half at a time with access maintained into/out of the cul de sac.

Q: Could the concrete layby near Glebe Road be used as a bus stop?
A: This layby is halfway between two other bus stops so if a bus stop went there, the other two stops would be removed, meaning bus users would have a long walk to the next stop.

Q: What consultation took place before this scheme was agreed?
A: The proposals were advertised in FOCUS, as well as via a streetletter from myself to all residents in Hills Road and several of the side roads. The County Council delivered leaflets with feedback forms to a wide local area and held local staffed events in March 2014. Drawings and information on the proposed scheme were put on the County Council website, together with contact details.  The Team also had information stalls at Hills Road VI Form College, Long Road VI Form College and at an Addenbrooke’s Sustainability Event.

In November 2014 the County Cycling Team wrote again to residents inviting them to a pre-construction event at Rock Road Library — an opportunity to find out about boundary issues, construction sequence etc.  This event was well attended by residents of Hills Road. The letter included details of where the final drawings could be seen on the website and asked residents to provide email addresses if they wanted updates on the scheme.

Q: What will happen when there are weddings and funerals at the church? What about hearses and wedding cars?
A: The Cycling Team has been liaising with St John’s Church. During construction, the cycleway works will be left in an appropriate state to accommodate wedding cars and hearses. After completion, wedding cars and hearses will be able to park for the duration of services, as the new cycle lanes are not ‘mandatory’ and there are no loading restrictions attached to the double yellow lines.

Q: Is the width of the carriageway being reduced?
A: Yes, the carriageway width is being reduced, to 6m.

Q: Will there be a loss of grass verges?
A: The roadside verges next to the road will go, but there is a half metre sedum strip between the cycleway and the footway on both sides of the road.

On the outbound side of Hills Road, the verges next to the houses will be largely the same except where space is needed for the floating bus stops.   On the citybound side (the side with the current shared-use cycle/footway) the verges next to the houses are increasing.

Here is a link to the drawings showing details:
On the west side of Hills Road (S to N), from No. 284 to 256, and from 248 to 228, a 800 or 900mm wide strip of footway will be turned into new verge. From No. 226 to Homerton College this strip widens to between 1.4 and 1.6m and then it is about 2.5m wide running past Homerton College. On the east side (S to N),  there are no significant areas of new verge until you get to the block north of Glebe Road, No.s 253 to 247 have 1.2m wide new verges. Re. the loss of those verges on the residence side of the footway, the only real areas where there is loss of verge is near the floating bus stops (and to some extent near crossings) but this does vary depending on the location.

Q: Was Cambridge City Council consulted?
A: The City Council is a statutory consultee for every cycling project within Cambridge.   The Project Team was keen to gain the input of City’s Urban Design team on the Huntingdon Road and Hills Road schemes – a meeting with the City’s Head of Urban Design was arranged before the schemes were approved and, in neither case were concerns raised about the proposals.

Q: Are our streetlights being replaced to facilitate the cycleway scheme?
A: No, the streetlighting on Hills Road is not being replaced as a result of the cycleway scheme but as part of the County’s streetlighting replacement programme – as such, the lighting along the whole length of Hills Road is being updated to conform with new British standards.

Q: At present, the pavement cycleway on the northbound side of Hills Road provides a convenient way of turning into Luard Road. Won’t the new arrangement be more dangerous?
A: The main carriageway on Hills Road will be narrowed to 6m, which should reduce traffic speeds. Equally, the speeds of vehicles exiting side roads should be slowed by the tighter turning movements required by the new scheme.

The Road Safety Audit 2 did not raise any issues about the changes to this junction, nor the removal of the shared-use foot/cycleway. The new scheme (unlike the shared-use foot/cycleway) gives cyclists on Hills Road priority through the junction with Luard Road so there should be a reduction in the number of cycle-related accidents at this location. Less confident cyclists on Hills Road may choose to pull in and wait on the left side of the new southbound 2.3m cycle lane before turning right. The County Council will monitor the situation and may consider installing a central island that would offer cyclists some protection whilst waiting to turn right.

Q: How will it be made clear that vehicles cannot drive across or park on the cycleway?

A: Cycle symbols will be added to the cycle lane and double yellow lines will be painted on the main carriageway (next to the outside edge of the cycle lane) to prevent parking in the new lane. This work should be taking place on the northbound side in  November 2015.

Q: How will the construction for the southbound side of Hills Road be handled?

A: The intention is to keep the citybound shared-use path open whilst the outbound works are carried out – to ensure safety for cyclists and pedestrians during the construction phase. The footpath work will be done first, then the cycleway and ‘Cambridge kerb’.

Q: Whom do I contact for more information?
A: If it is an operational matter, contact Grant Weller at Cambridgeshire County Council: [email protected] If your question is about consultation or general principles, contact Mike Davies: [email protected]

MONDAY 5TH OCTOBER: REPORT ON THE PRESENTATION ON CYCLING SCHEMES AT SOUTH AREA MEETING, ST JOHN’S CHURCH, HILLS ROAD.

Sedley Taylor Road: bother with builders

Builders are giving rise to concern in Sedley Taylor Road and last week residents requested my help in addressing issues around parking and anti-social noise.

Cars and larger vehicles are reported as parking on yellow lines and blocking driveways and pavements. I have taken this up with the local police and the County Council, the authority responsible for parking enforcement.

Our police sergeant, Sgt Chris Horton, has asked his PCSOs to include Sedley Taylor Road in their patrols. If you witness obstruction or dangerous parking, ring the police non-emergency number 101.

One of the County’s enforcement officers has already been to see the building firm and has made it clear that vehicles must be parked legally and safely, since this street gets a lot of pedestrians, including children.

At present some of the plates stating the parking restriction times for the single yellow lines are missing. It’s not certain when or why the plates disappeared but I’ve asked for them to be replaced, which will enable traffic wardens to issue offenders with FPNs. If you see illegal parking on yellow lines, ring the County on 727900.

People have said that builders and delivery vehicles are arriving very early, sometimes before 7am, and creating a lot of noise. I have asked the City Council what conditions on hours were attached to the planning consent, and what else might be done to restore tranquillity.

UPDATE:

The City Council responding saying:

You are quite right, there is no condition on this consent controlling working hours so the Local Planning Authority has no control in this regard. We wouldn’t normally put this type of condition on a householder application. I suggest that this is taken up with Environmental Health if the concerns cannot be resolved between neighbours.

Victory to Viki!

By-election-Count-for-webViki Sanders was elected as the new councillor for Queen Edith’s last night, joining Tim Moore and George Pippas on Cambridge City Council. As county councillor I am looking forward to working with her again.

Here is the result:

Lib Dem (Viki Sanders) 933
Labour (Rahima Ahammed) 790
Conservative (Andy Bower) 614
Green (Joel Chalfen) 222

Lib Dem majority 143

Here is a video of the declaration at the Guildhall, produced by local blogger and digital media guru Antony Carpen:
https://adragonsbestfriend.wordpress.com/

As this was a by-election to replace resigning Labour councillor Sue Birtles, Viki’s term of office lasts until May 2016.

Thank you all very much for your support in what was a very hard-fought election, and hats off to all the parties for a stimulating campaign.

Floating bus stops, what do you think?

floatingbusstopHills Road is to benefit from over a million pounds of government funding for a new road layout that aims to improve conditions for pedestrians, bus users and cyclists. There is a plan for segregated cycle lanes in three of the main roads into the city: Hills Road, Trumpington Road and Huntingdon Road.

An innovative feature of the scheme will be ‘floating bus stops’, which have proved successful in Brighton and London. This will avoid the danger of cyclists overtaking buses at stops, but it will be important to make sure it is safe for bus passengers.

The County Council is running a consultation begins next week, with exhibitions and events at various local centres. There has already been one at St John’s Church and there are more at Addenbrooke’s (Friday March 14th, 11.00am-2pm) and the Perse School ( Wednesday March 26th, 6,30-8.30pm).

For full details, see http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/CMSWebsite/Apps/News/Details.aspx?ref=1330

The meeting will also include a presentation from the neighbourhood police and planning applications, including one for flats in Queen Edith’s Way – yes, more flats.

The meeting begins at 7pm, with an Open Forum, at which anyone can ask questions or make statements.

Holbrook Park: playground revamp starting soon

Holbrook Park playground is set to be refurbished very soon. Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation about the play equipment that I ran in the summer.

The City Council has acted on the wishes expressed by local people and ordered the climber and spinner roundabout. These are now at the Council’s depot and ready to be installed. Other maintenance work is going to be done at the same time, including a new safety surface and some landscaping.

I met the council’s managers responsible for maintaining and running the parks at Holbrook Park yesterday morning. They are ready to go with the new equipment, and have also said they would like to upgrade the wooden climbing equipment that has been there since 1995, as it is in poor shape, with splits in the wood and some wearing away of the rope ladder. Here is a picture of what they propose to put in its place.

The Council would like to begin the refurbishment work this month, before winter sets in, so any comments by the end of the weekend, please.

A council grant for your group – apply in September, enjoy in 2013

Cambridge City Council gives community development and leisure grants to community groups, sports teams, social clubs, residents’ associations etc. The money could help with events, equipment or outings.

Here is a list of the types of organization and activity that attract grant funding:
  • Organisations that provide activities and services to people who are disadvantaged or marginalised by their social or economic circumstances
  • Organisations that enable people to improve their own well being and participate in their communities
  • Organisations that enable people to participate in making decisions and influence the services that affect their lives
  • Activities which increase people’s awareness of the city’s cultural diversity, and provides opportunities to celebrate it
  • Activities which bring people together to identify common issues and bring about positive changes in their communities
  • High levels of user involvement in identifying local needs and developing projects which respond to those needs
  • Organisations which develop and deliver sustainable solutions to social and economic challenges

Grants for Queen Edith’s, Cherry Hinton and Trumpington are assessed by the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, which makes recommendations to councillors at the South Area Committee, which meets approximately every two months. The next deadline is 30th September and the grants will be decided in December.

For more information on grants, and to download forms and eligibility rules, see the Council’s website or download a leaflet here: AC publicity leaflet

Contact the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation on Cambridge 410535.

Cambridge City Council throws out Labour shared housing motion

Last night, Cambridge City Council roundly defeated the Labour Party motion to cap shared housing in Cambridge.

The motion followed speeches from members of the public who had come to the Guildhall to address their concerns about the motions to councillors. They expressed their disquiet at the potential shortage of accommodation which might ensure if Labour restricted the number of shared houses, the unreasonableness of making ordinary families with lodgers register as HMOs, and the desirability of mixed communities.

I was first to oppose the motion, and you can read a transcript of my speech on Richard Taylor’s site, and here is a link to Richard’s recording of the anti-house share debate on YouTube.  Thank you Richard for getting an account of the debate on line so quickly.

Liberal Democrat councillors put forward an amendment to Labour’s motion, keeping the first few words which “the vital contribution that well-run houses make in providing homes for family, students, professionals and migrant workers” but dropping the parts about widening the scope of HMO designation and restricting numbers.

Lib Dems asked for an annual report to be brought to the council’s Community Services Committee detailing the number and type of complaints received by the Environmental Health Department in all types of housing in the city and how they have been dealt with, including the number of prosecutions.